Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Updated: Nate Silver and the Election

Update - Nov 7: Results posted below.

I've been following Nate Silver's numbers on the 2012 US presidential election. Simply fascinating. If he's right, and I'm led to believe his predictions are scary-accurate, this is not a race at all despite how badly the news wants to portray it as one.

They have all the predictions posted on FiveThirtyEight.

Not being American but still wanting to play along, I compiled his state by state predictions into a spreadsheet I'll be using later tonight. I'm actually much more interested in how close Silver's estimates will be to results than I am in the actual election at this point. You can download my spreadsheet below if you want to play at home, too.

Just enter the results in the Obama and Romney "Actual" columns as they roll in and you'll be able to see the difference between results and Silver's numbers.


With 90%+ of results in now, I am both amazed, yet not surprised, at the results of Nate Silver's predictions. I've learned previously to take poker players proficient in statistic's predictions seriously, especially when they come out with a 91% confidence rate.

Florida still hasn't been given to Obama, but assuming he retains his slight, predicted lead there, Nate will have picked every single state correctly.

I changed my spreadsheet a bit to give me a Vote Share Accuracy (100% - absolute value of the % difference) column instead of just the % Difference from predicted. Not only did Nate pick every state correctly, his Accuracy with respect to vote share by state averages out to 96.8% with the biggest outlier being West Virginia where Obama received 14% less support than expected. He had 17 states where his predictions were 99%+ accurate.

You can download a completed version of this spreadsheet below.

Sunday, 4 November 2012

FTP Relaunch VIP Preview

Full Tilt Poker will be relaunched on November 6th. They have recently released more information regarding their new VIP program "Edge." I am contemplating a move to FTP, given my current Silver/Gold volume on Stars.

This is my comprehensive breakdown and comparison of the FTP program. Stars has a comprehensive breakdown of their VIP and Milestone tier levels complete with effective rakeback percentages here.


Similar to Stars, there will be a VIP tier system based on how much you rake called Edge. Whereas Stars uses monthly and annual measures of VPP accumulation, FTP will use 7, 30 and 100 day rolling averages of FT-Point accumulation. FT-Points will be earned at a rate of 10 points per dollar raked under the Weighted Contributed model.

There are varying tiers where you will be paid back at different rates/100 points on a weekly basis, with the top tier being $2.50/100 points for 25%. These weekly payments do not affect your FT-Points at all, and you retain all FTPs to be used in the store on Ring or Tourney tickets, and cash bonuses for Diamond tier players.

I've put together a spreadsheet encompassing the Edge program which I've posted below.

  • At the top you will find a duplication of the Edge Status Requirements along with the equivalent daily rake paid averages.
  • Beside that is a breakdown of the Ring Game and Tourney tickets currently available in the store. The ticket values used in the rest of the spreadsheet are an average between the cash and tourney values that players with those annual volumes would typically buy (this is a marginal, less than 0.5% difference no matter how you put it together). I have not included any unknown freerolls in this.
  • The bottom three sections provide breakdowns of the tier based rake requirements for each set of rolling averages, the effective rakeback percentages, and a comparison to the approximate correlating tier on PokerStars with my estimates on average new vs. continuing effective rakeback percentages from the Stars VIP breakdown sheet.

As you can see, the FTP tiers and their rakeback percentages correspond fairly well with the Stars tiers based on the same rake paid for the most part.

There are however a few differences to note:
  • New or returning players can get up to speed much more quickly, being able to reach an intermediate tier within 7 days compared to 1 month on Stars, and to the top tier within 30 days as opposed to up to 1 year on Stars.
  • Over a longer period of time, it requires fewer and fewer FT-Points to maintain your tier status as opposed to Stars fixed tier system.
  • Using the rolling averages instead of monthly or especially annual calendar programs allows players to jump in and start receiving their maximum benefits right away, any day of the week or year instead of waiting until the first of the month or January 1st.
  • While the top tier is certainly easier to attain than the top Stars tiers (Elite and Supernova), keep in mind that Diamond is still the equivalent of somewhere between Stars's Gold and Platinum when you take rake and rakeback into account. If you are a Supernova+ volume player, there is no equivalent FTP tier at this time and you will max out at 29.9% fairly easily.
Based on my current volume of play and my inability to regain Supernova status by the end of this year, I will be giving FTP a shot and re-evaluate both programs for January 1st, given that FTP is not completely reg infested due to fear and misunderstanding of recreationals. I'm hopeful that the rolling average requirements and weekly cash payments should help to smooth things out for people that prefer the rakeback system.